Perceived Neighborhood Characteristics and Problem Behavior Among Disadvantaged Children
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- Moren-Cross, J.L., Wright, D.R., LaGory, M. et al. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev (2006) 36: 273. doi:10.1007/s10578-005-0003-4
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Using survey data from former Head Start children in the third grade from 15 sites across the nation (n = 576), this study examines the relationship between maternal subjective neighborhood attributions and their children’s behavioral problems. Maternal perceptions of neighborhood characteristics were measured across five domains, including collective efficacy, barriers to services, negative neighbor affects, probability of child status attainment success, and overall neighborhood rating. Children’s problem behaviors, measured with the Social Skills Rating System, includes externalizing and internalizing outcomes. Our results suggest that the worse the maternal assessments on each neighborhood construct, the greater the extent of children’s problem behavior, holding constant child demographic factors and parental socioeconomic status. In addition, we find that family income effects on children’s problem behavior are partially mediated by these perceived neighborhood domains. Taken together, these results suggest that neighborhood deprivation is related to problematic behavioral outcomes in children.